Sunday, 25 September 2011

36. The Queen Was in the Parlor (1932)

Warner cartoon no. 35.
Release date: July 9, 1932.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Directed by: Rudolf Ising.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger (associate).
Cast unknown.
Animation: Isadore "Friz" Freleng and Paul Smith.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

The setting shows a medieval castle in the distance. We get a better look at the castle (only the drawbridge) which is lowered on top of a moat, then there is a gate that opens, and another door that opens - which shows you that the castle is in full protection, then a squire comes in to play the trumpet in honor of the king entering the castle. From our point of view, we see a fat, pompus king that's crossing the bridge, he appears to be riding some type of horse or donkey, but I wonder how can he handle that weight. It's like that story when King Henry VIII became too fat for riding horses.

Inside the quad, we see that it's Old King Cole, but as a pig. The horse appears to be controlling the weight alright (boy, he sure has a strong back). The horse then bucks off the king, but slides the king through his body, and pats his ears on the bottom playing the rhythm to an old traditional royal theme. The town quire are standing in the corner of the castle shouting "Long live the king!" as an admiration to the king.

The king exclaims to his knights, "But where's the Queen", so the knights pass on the message, knight-after-knight whispering "The Queen", until we see a Jewish knight saying "The queen", which is meant to be a funny gag back in the 1930's. But, (as I learnt) it doesn't make Harman-Ising Anti-Semetic. The king's squires realize and shout "Oh, the queen!", and then the title song The Queen Was in the Parlor is been sung. As the title song is been sung, there is a dog in a knight suit (while as the drawbridge of his kennel is lowered), he barks out as well. The dog struggles to scratch, as he's wearing a metal knight suit, so he uses a powder that cures itches, in which the fleas escape. The gag itself, is not actually bad at all - it works. I also really like how the King is walking down the path, I love that fat-walk that was produced and animated, it gives the character some personality.

We then see the Queen in the parlor room sitting on the throne, and the princess (who also appears to be in the Goopy cartoons and in Freddy the Freshman) who is building a knight armour suit. It appears to be that in the room, that they build armour suits for knights. The king steps in the room, and also "takes the mick" of the squire my pulling his bib. What I quite like about the king's personality here is that he's too lazy to walk to the throne chair, and he's a powerful figure that even the throne chair follows him to be sat on - that's a lot of power.

So, the King orders a jester to come and entertain him. We realize that the jester is...Goopy Geer? Oh man, I hope that Goopy won't ruin this short for me, because I was really liking this short so far, but we'll see what he has to bring. Goopy Geer steps in front of the throne and sings to Old King Cole, and mentions that he calls his crooners three names: Crosby, Columbo and Vallee. Darn it - I thought that it would be the last thing I'll hear about that song. After the song, there is a caricature of Rudy Vallee's head in a jack-in-a-box singing I Will Gather Stars Out of the Blue for You. Alright, but I'm really starting to not like Rudy Vallee's appearances here - thank you Old King Cole for hitting Rudy Vallee on the head, that leads him to fall back into the jack-in-a-box with your sceptor. The King complains, "I'd rather hear Amos N'Andy", which was a popular comedy show back in the early 1930's. I really like the King here, wonderful character development here, and that he is a powerful figure.

Goopy Geer walks down the center of the room, until he notices a table on the side of the wall, with bottles on it. The door nearby says Ye Old Chamber, so Goopy Geer is placing his ear by the door, eavesdropping. An old timer comes out and asks Goopy, "Are ya listenin'?", so Goopy smirks "Uh yeah, I'm Walter Winchell", [Winchell] was a popular American newspaper and commentator personality back in that era, and I suppose the gag revolves around him who seems to eavesdrop. There appear to be some strange beer bottles that explode, and Goopy runs out of screen exclaiming "Okay, Chicago", which was apparently a catchphrase by Winchell. So, Goopy continues to take over the screen by doing his dancing schemes, and tapping on a spittoon. There is also a cat hiding behind a mousehole, but the mouse comes out in a knight costume to charge at the cat.

I have to say, that Goopy is ruining this short for me - I was really liking this short with the King and his knights, but Goopy Geer had to come along by doing Rudy Vallee and Walter Winchell impressions, but since when did they exist in Medieval times. Although, that it's just a cartoon, but I just don't really like Goopy Geer.
There is a knight standing by the door who is also joining into the tune, but a door slams when there's a nasty villain who comes in to try and take away Goopy's performance on the screen (please do that nasty villain). The villain comes along and looks at the armour costume, he spits on it but explodes. The spit was powerful that the suit was just gone, only a mere set of bones. I don't know where the "bones" part comes from.

The villain notices the princess dancing to some funky tunes, in which the villain finds his interest, to kidnap  her. The villain hides behind the curtains while she's dancing and doesn't even notice anything. The villain quickly grabs the princess, and runs off with her.

Goopy is still dancing, but he then listens to the sounds of screaming going on. He finally encounters the villain with the princess, so the villain challenges him to a swordfight, while Goopy uses his jester stick. Goopy's stick gets caught tangled up in a column, until it loosens in which Goopy flies right into a cupboard full of plates, in which he looks like he's in a armour suit. I wonder if that inspired anything from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (think about it Dopey covered in pots and pans?).

Goopy continues to charge at the villain, but the villain is too powerful for him, as he punches Goopy off the screen, and lands on a column with a goat's head stuck on his head.

Goopy charges at the villain with the goat head on, in which the villain's suit of armour crash into pieces. The villain is wearing his pyjamas, so he mixes the suit back into pieces like shaking a smoothie, and climbs back on the suit of armour. Knowing that his suit was crashed into pieces, he runs away from Goopy Geer thinking he's a goat, and he runs off into the distance. Goopy won the battle and that's all folks!

I thought that this cartoon was rather mixed. I really liked the first half of it, there was wonderful character developments on the King, and I wish that he could've carried on the whole cartoon (unless he was too lazy to do so ;-) but Goopy Geer just ruined the cartoon for me, and I know that the staff were trying to make an entertaining character out of him, but Goopy just doesn't entertain me, in fact he annoys me - I find that he always ruins the shorts, and he's so equivalent to Goofy. However, this is the last appearance of Goopy Geer (as far as I've heard), but now there are no more characters in Merrie Melodies but one-shot cartoons, until Porky Pig makes his debut in a one-shot cartoon, but nothing happens until Daffy Duck makes some appearances in Merrie Melodies until 1938.

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